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Professor’s memoir highlighted among best in Northwest

January 03, 2013

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100 Tricks Every Boy Can Do: How My Brother Disappeared, a memoir by Kim Stafford, associate professor and director of the Northwest Writing Institute, has been selected by the Oregonian as one of the top 10 Northwest books of 2012.

In 1988, Stafford’s brother Bret took his own life. The brothers shared a bright, exploratory childhood together, but grew more distant as adults. When Bret killed himself it was as if an iron door had swung shut on his story, and the Stafford family expressed its grief and love for one another in a protective silence. Stafford’s memoir opens the iron door and works backward through the mystery of Bret’s sadness to his happy boyhood. Writing the book, according to an interview with Stafford, was a project to “make my brother’s life a whole story again, not just a dark event.”

The Oregonian suggests that the memoir “can be used as a writing guide, a way of understanding and dealing with suicide and grief, and a deep look into the heart of a family by an important Oregon writer.”

Read the Oregonian list